(Essay no 16)
IT HAS LONG been the thought that the Scriptures give no direct information as to the cause of the event which has come to be termed the disruption. At the same time, it has been supposed that the disruption was the outcome of a judging. Yet this is a matter for which no actual reason was really available, except to require the "judging" to be an intended feature in God's ways.
This explanation does not allow the matter to be a stage by which the Deity directly moves forward in the unfoldings which are to reveal His love and righteousness. The essential feature of any judging is that it must rectify or put right. This aspect seems to be entirely absent from the case of the disruption. Rather is the event a basis which looks backwards, yet, in a very pertinent sense, it looks forward, for out of it something must be achieved. It is, in itself, incomplete.
It cannot be that the disruption was an undesigned and unintended occurrence. So epoch-making a matter must be a primary element required by God in His revelation of Himself. The necessary details He duly planned ere He began His revealing. The down-casting must be referred to purpose.
We are saying that the circumstances which surround the event before us, require us to consider it as a leading matter. But judging is a thing which tends to forbid purpose, and, to be sure, we are told that God's choice of those who were to become believers was made prior to that event. The choice was made in a context when there existed no outward reason for the choice. Judging, at that time, is an understanding which prevents the choice from having a basis related to God's counsels, though the context states the choice to be a fact, and made so ere creation came into being.
Whatever be the outward factor which led to the disruption, it is certain that it occurred as a planned matter, to reveal the glory of God, out of Whom all is. This planning makes the event of the disruption to reflect backwards, so as to require the prior choice, made in God's Son, to have its correspondent achievement around Him in Whom the choice was made. This must be so, since all creation was to come to be through Him, in order to be for God. Christ carried forward the creation as God laid it upon Him to do, when He placed creation in His Firstborn.
In the first of Ephesians we have two statements, one as to "down-casting" (1:4), and the other as to "heading-up." The very close connection between the two, in the matter of statement, is eminently suggestive of purpose; in fact, the bringing together makes them to have a mutual importance in relationship, for the latter words state the reality of the reversal of the former. Each thought expressed requires that there be behind it a reference to the feature of planning. First, we have a prior choice, and second that the lot of those chosen is cast in Him in Whose hands is the heading-up (1:11). We further learn that this One is the Head of the universe, and it is in this exclusive glory that He is given to the ecclesia. We learn also from Col.1:17 that in His glory the universe is having its cohesion. Thus "cohesion" becomes the antonym of "disruption," and so confirms the thought to which we are pointing.
These details put the disruption into its true perspective. Its context is one wherein it has become the causal factor, one which affects, not alone the earth and its people, but the whole creation. It makes the earth's rehabilitation to be a necessity, in order that the earth could become a dwelling place for humans, who are creation's concluding order of beings, constituted as living souls. It was God's planning from the beginning that the earth should be inhabited. The disruption, though seeming to delay this, yet it did not prevent the peopling of the earth.
Amidst this last order of beings was to be demonstrated the glory of Him Who was creation's Firstborn, and consequently the Head. The consummating factor about His obedience to His Father's will was that obedience was to be enacted in His relationship with humanity. And the details for this began to be out of that event which "cast down" the world, that is, the disruption. In fact, the relative side or objective of the disruption was to prevent the earth being inhabited by humanity ! The tragedy envisaged by the event was to bring in ruin, and in such circumstances that there could be no recovery therefrom ! This is the ideal of enmity !
The obedience of God's Son was required by His Father's counsels. The glory of God's Son was so transcendent that the requirements of those counsels were within the measure of His glory. Thus was the Son's glory able to reveal Him Whose love and righteousness came to be offended. The ultimate will reveal God as being such an One Who is able to succeed and to triumph by His love. His reality is love which is able to estrange creation, and is also able to bring it back to Himself with a realization of His glory.
It is very evident that we must look to the jurisdiction of darkness if we are to discern that factor from which the disruption can arise. Such a jurisdiction will first produce estrangement, and then intensify it, both as to the spiritual realm and also in the physical realm. So that there will really have come to be not only what is an event, but also what is a state of disruption. In this way we ought to appreciate that the disruption is a matter which relates first to the celestials and later to matters on the earth.
We contact the disruption early in the Scriptures: in fact, at Genesis 1:2 the earth has been disordered. Yet it is amongst the celestials that estrangement is first operating. The joyous shout of the sons of God concerning the earth, this has become dimmed. The light streaming from God's Creative Original has become offset by darkness, and correspondingly there is a state of disruption and estrangement existing: disorder lies across God's creation, and in the earth there exists what is perhaps its most obvious aspect, for darkness envelopes it, and to such a degree that God's first fiat calls for light.
Must we not see that the Adversary was not among the sons of God who acclaimed the forming to the earth (Job 38:7) ? Evidently he was not then existent among the celestials, but he came forth into creation at a later point. In his capacity as Adversary, he did not find the order of things to be such as he approved. Then ensues estrangement and its effects in the system.
Wisdom, when personified, testifies that it had being ere any of the effects from the Adversary existed. The significance of this becomes clear when we read that there were no submerged chaoses (Gen.1:2 and Pro.8:24) when Ieue acquired wisdom in order to begin His way, preceding His contrivances. Is it not notable that we find wisdom associated with the effects which arise immediate from the Adversary ? This is most assuring counsel, for it pushes aside the idea that disaster overtook Ieue's way, foundering His wisdom. Nay, wisdom continues its personal disquisition, mounting up to state the height to which its delectation looked forward —to the sons of humanity, for amidst the sons of humanity, wisdom sees glory which will more than readjust the effects coming from the Adversary.
This disquisition upon wisdom in Proverbs 8 moves forward in its consideration in order to establish how far back we must go to discover the origin and application of wisdom. There emerges the affirmation that wisdom lies before and around all the disorganizing as well as the organizing. The same wisdom plans the one as plans the other.
The serenity of creation could not continue when the counterworker took up his office. The Adversary and the disruption have an intimate connection. The coming into being of this one is closely related in time to the occurrence of the other. So that we need not search far as to the cause of the disruption, for it lies to hand as the event ensuing from the bringing into existence of the Adversary. With him began the jurisdiction of darkness, for that was tantamount to the exercise of his office.
For the Adversary to take up his office was a minimum necessity, but it scattered the seeds of discord in creation, and the disruption became evident in the physical features of the universe, especially the earth. No longer did the elements for estrangement exist only in the character of a creature, but his outlook at once came into outward evidence. At once is the Adversary opposed to headship. Thus he could not acknowledge the One Who possessed that glory, for obedience was not in the province of the Adversary. He was a man-killer from the beginning (Jo.8:44).
The Adversary must produce darkness, even if it be made to simulate to be light. In effect, the jurisdiction of darkness must wholly deny its agreement with light. Cleavage and separation is abroad in the universe. No longer do the sons of God shout for joy as they did when witnessing the glory attending the producing of the earth.
The darkness cannot affect the Deity. His glory remains absolute despite the darkness. Yet the darkness must create shadows and produce contrary effects in elements of God's creation. The degree to which this proceeds in creation becomes part of the question before us. Yet the major point is to perceive what can reverse the jurisdiction of darkness and repudiate it to a finality, and, at the same time garner from its existence the glory which contributes to the revealing of God.
Headship, placed in the hands of One Who is able to receive such glory, this will reverse both the authority of darkness and its entire effects. Headship requires One Who is obedient and faithful to His Father. Even prior to the bringing forth of the Adversary, the diving title, Al, that is, Subjector, was coming to be in point, and so too must the name Ieue, for it fills out the eons in which creation is given being and functions.
The Adversary is the counterworker, who in his functioning is the obvious opponent of headship. He provides the element which is against the completeness of concord in the position of Him Who is Head.
The Firstborn of creation, and the status of His glory, was to be repudiated when one was created to fill the position of Adversary. Headship could not then function, except in a restricted sense, for a section of creation will refuse to be led by Him Who is Head.
That an allotment should later need to be revealed as for Christ, this is a direct result of the Adversary taking up his office with its jurisdiction. The actual entry of the Adversary into the office, though planned for him in God's ways, yet his entry into the office implied that he did not accept the glory of the position of Him Who was the Firstborn of creation.
This denial by the Adversary evoked both spiritual and physical effects into creation, and these were very necessary matters to aid the revealing and the display of God's love and righteousness. It is upon this denial, this resistance to the headship of the Firstborn, that the necessity to create humanity is based. Out of the creation of humanity there can come to be the cross, and this will affirm the headship of the Firstborn, for He is the Son of God's love.
In His planning of His ways, God had duly covered all the details of this denial of the Firstborn, for, ere He brought His Son into being, God has in His counsels formulated His secret will concerning the One Who was to be His anointed.
So far as humans are concerned, the secrets remained hid in the depths of God until the appropriate time in the eons. God's anointed One, upon Whom was bestowed all the glory of executive power and authority, acquiesced and followed the pathway of His Father's counsels. Then did God's spirit search the depths of God in order to reveal these secrets to that apostle whom He called on the Damascus road.
In the eons God's Son, the Firstborn of creation, maintained and sustained that personal glory, the personal worthiness which inheres Him. So much is this so that the entire complement of His God delights to dwell in Him. The ecclesia will be associated with Him in the heading up of the era of the future administration, when all will be brought within Christ as the Head, leaving no adverse feature existing throughout the universe. Then will be a universe ready and desirous to follow the guiding hand of the Father. This will be the joy to which the obedience of the Firstborn has ever delighted to look forward.
From God's viewpoint, the disruption involved the revelation of His own love and righteousness, and this required the cross. It was the prospect around the cross which led forward creation.
For the Son, His obedience to His Father led Him beyond the disruption; thus His implicit subjection to His God and Father led Him to the cross.
So far as the earth is concerned, when actually inhabited, following the disruption, then it came to be a rejected precept, and later a rejected Messenger and His claim. This took God's Son to the cross.
God's consummation lies ahead. The eons will come to pass, and with them all the toil, sweat and blood, for these were the features of the estrangement when it passed along from the celestials to the earth's inhabitants. The celestials did not possess the needed characteristics which could adjust the estrangement. God's Son, alone, in His obedience, could become inferior, partaking of blood and flesh, that creation might be reconciled to His God and Father. In the Son the universe is having its cohesion.
E. H. Clayton